WASHINGTON- An alarming percentage of the U.S. population suffers from Vitamin D Deficiency. The symptoms are disregarded and overlooked. When people go for checkups at the doctor’s office, some physician checks vitamin levels.
A new lifestyle is at fault. Many daily routines consist of driving to work, spending all day in an office and after work, driving to their homes or the store, or simply working from home. Children do not play outside as much as previous generations. As a society, Americans have limited exposure to the outdoors and sunlight. Sunlight is a primary form of absorbing vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency, “Not a big deal, right?” Wrong. Although nearly half the American population is Vitamin D deficient (42 percent), it does not mean it is nothing to worry about. Vitamin D deficiency can cause various diseases: depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and in children and adults with extreme vitamin D deficiency, Rickets (in children) and Osteomalacia (in adults). These illnesses cause a loss of bone density and can cause bone cancer (Vitamin D and Depression).
Vitamin D deficiency affects children, adults, males, females, and all races. Some races are more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency. People with high amounts of melanin (pigmentation) in the skin reduce the body’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
A lack of vitamin D is easy to overlook because most people do not realize they suffer from vitamin D deficiency. There is evidence that a lack of vitamin D can cause type-two diabetes in adults. Once these health conditions form, it is harder for the body to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
It is a vicious cycle. However, daily walks, jogs, or outdoor activities can drastically improve vitamin D availability in the body. Foods like fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, and egg yolks can also help to increase vitamin D in a deplenished system. Breakfast items like milk, cereals, orange juice, and yogurt can also replenish vitamin D.
The following are the recommended daily intakes of vitamin D according to The Institute of Medicine and WebMD:
Infants age 0 to 6 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,000 IU/day
Infant’s age 6 to 12 months: adequate intake, 400 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 1,500 IU/day
Age 1-3 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 2,500 IU/day
Age 4-8 years: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 3,000 IU/day
Age 9-70: adequate intake, 600 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
Age 71+ years: adequate intake, 800 IU/day; maximum safe upper level of intake, 4,000 IU/day
By Alexander Fernandez
Voice Gabi Casais